Sam McNabb recalls past racist incidents

Donovan McNabb is over the humiliation of Rush Limbaugh's remarks from Sept. 28, but his father, Sam McNabb, isn't.

The son can even joke about the incident and the free publicity he gained from it. But Sam McNabb is still livid.

"When you've gone through some things that have affected you personally, you always have that scar," he told Knight-Ridder on Thursday. "It's a permanent scar, and you try to deal with it as much as you can without allowing it to affect you and prevent you from functioning."

Sam McNabb still seethes over Limbaugh's suggestions during his short-lived career as a sports analyst that the Eagles' QB is overrated and the product of the liberal media's desire to see a black quarterback succeed. The comments reminded Donovan's father of the time 20 years ago when he moved his family into an all-white neighborhood in Mount Carmel, Ill.

"We were the first African-American family on the block, and the 'welcoming committee' was not very welcoming," he told the news service. "They broke into my house, broke several windows, urinated on the carpeting, knocked holes in the walls inside the house and spray-painted the outside. It was their show of disapproval.

"Now here you are, thinking we're beyond this, and all of a sudden, it comes in a different form and attacks another family member," he said. "When things are hurtful, you want to put it in your past and move forward. You can forgive, but you cannot forget."

Thus, his son's success on the field this season, especially in last week's last-minute win over the Packers, has almost been an out-of-body experience for Sam McNabb. A father saw his son prove his biggest critic wrong.

"It was like my emotions were frozen in time," Sam McNabb said of Donovan's 4th-down, 28-yard completion to Freddie Mitchell that gave the Eagles a first down late in the fourth quarter against Green Bay. The Eagles went on to tie the score in regulation and win in overtime to advance to their third straight NFC Championship Game.

Now the Eagles face the Carolina Panthers, and McNabb is a win away from Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston.

Memo to Limbaugh: Take that.

"Like the saying goes, 'Judge not, lest you be judged,'" Sam McNabb told Knight-Ridder.

"The sad thing is that even as we speak, (Limbaugh) has millions of supporters who believe he was right in what he did and still find no fault in it."

Donovan McNabb told the Knight-Ridder that he is thankful for his father's support.

"He's my best friend, and along with my mom, he's my No. 1 fan, as well as my No. 1 critic," McNabb said after practice Thursday. "It's their support that gets me through the tough times, and it's their criticisms that keep me grounded when others heap praise on me. My dad, though, is the one that I can always turn to when I need advice, no matter what the topic."

Sam McNabb is grateful for the manner in which his his son has dealt with the controversy.

"He handled it extremely well," said Sam, who retired two months ago from a power company in Chicago and is the founder and president of the National Football Players Fathers Association, a group designed to help NFL players maximize their potential on and off the field. "Donovan has shown people that he knows how to handle tough situations, and he thinks before he speaks."

Sam McNabb will be there to watch his son play in Sunday's NFC title game.

"If they win, it would be the proverbial icing on the cake to a season that everyone kind of wrote off after only two games," he said. "The outsiders who gave up on, it would be a major statement to show what true perseverance is all about."

But Sam McNabb knows that neither an NFC title nor a Super Bowl win would not end the problem of race relations in America.

"I was in the service in Viet Nam, and to go through so much over there and then go through things in your homeland, it's a shame," he said. "It's not like things were bad yesterday. We're talking hundreds of years that we've been going through this ordeal. We just don't have anything to show for it, and that's not good."